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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> advice for wedding photography???
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09/20/2005 09:40:04 AM · #1
Hey everyone, I'm very new here. My cousin is getting married this weekend and rather than booking a photographer, they are having me shoot the wedding. (budget reasons)

Problem is, I know nothing about wedding photography!

If anyone could lend advice/tips/links, I would really appreciate it.

I am 18 and I have a Nikon D70.
09/20/2005 10:12:50 AM · #2
Originally posted by emifinan:

Hey everyone, I'm very new here. My cousin is getting married this weekend and rather than booking a photographer, they are having me shoot the wedding. (budget reasons)

Problem is, I know nothing about wedding photography!

If anyone could lend advice/tips/links, I would really appreciate it.

I am 18 and I have a Nikon D70.


That is really short notice. A good source given your time constraint would be to check the Nikon D50/D70 forum on www.dpreview.com. There is a real gentleman wedding photographer and teacher on lighting techniques named Sam J. Stern "samjstern". He posted several times with practical wedding settings for the camera and the flash (yes, a SB800 or SB600 with diffuser dome is not a luxury). I took the liberty to post his settings here ( //forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=13860165 ). I am sure he will respond when you post for him.

Good luck.

"
Can I be so bold as to send to you some info.

Wedding Shooting Settings for Success/ D70 and SB-800 (ver 6/05)

Note:

1. I shoot in JPEG
2. I use only D70 body and SB-800, settings may be different with built in flash

Try these settings. I find them very accurate, easy to use, and give repeatable excellent quality exposures and white balance.

A. Outdoors with fill flash:

1. Matrix metering on camera
2. Program mode. Try to get about a 1/125 at about f 5.6 or f 8 .
3. ISO beginning at 250, 320 or 400 if darker day
4. SB-800 on TTL BL. Exposure comp at 0 to begin with (see note below)
5. White balance : Flash , 0 comp ( No, I’m not crazy)

B. Indoors with flash

1. Change metering to spot on D70.
This also changes the SB-800 to regular TTL automatically. VERY NICE

2. Manual metering on camera. I use 1/80 or 1/125 second at f5.6 or f 8. Don’t get

too large an aperture. You want to nail focus during dancing and such.
an aperture. You want to nail the focus during dancing and such.
3. SB-800 Exposure comp at 0 to begin with (see note below).

4. White balance: Flash, +1 or + 2 comp ( very accurate white balance, try it)

The SB-800 is adjusting its flash output by light reflecting back at the camera.
1. With neutral subjects (clothing) leave flash exposure comp at 0.
2. Brighter subject (bride) adjust up + 1/3 or + 2/3.
3. Darker subject (couple wearing black for example) adjust down – 1/3 or – 2/3

You don’t want to overexpose with a flash shot. Learn to evaluate what the subjects are wearing and adjust up or down. If you learn this “zone” system of flash comp you can always get a very well exposed shot, very good consistency from picture to picture.

Examples: Picture of just wedding cake + 2/3
Picture of just bride + 2/3
Picture if bride and brides maids wearing light color dresses, + 1/3
Picture of groom alone, - 1/3
Picture groom and his guys in black tuxes, - 2/3
Picture of bride and mom (wearing dark dress) “0”
Picture of bride and mom (wearing light dress) + 2/3
Picture of bride and groom cutting white cake + 2/3
Picture of dancing couple wearing

Sam Stern

//www.pbase.com/samjstern/melissa_and_barry

"
09/20/2005 10:17:11 AM · #3
Things that came to mind immediately...

Questions for you:
What lenses do you have? Do you have a flash? Do you have enough memory cards? Do you have a buddy that can tag along and assist you with things throughout the day?

Questions for you to ask your cousin:
What's the venue like (dark, bright, lots of windows, nice grounds/surroundings for backgrounds, etc.) What time of day? Do you have a list of shots you'd like me to take? (sample shot list here for you to print and give to them)

2 cents worth of advice...take lots and lots and lots of pictures...two of some even. ;) The more you have to work with, the more of a chance of getting shots you like. I've assisted on three weddings now and have learned SOOO much each time. I really enjoy it and have gotten some decent results (even though this last one was a bit disappointing and quite dark, it was still fun). You can look at the links for them if you'd like.

//www.laurielblack.smugmug.com/gallery/616068
//www.laurielblack.smugmug.com/gallery/713422
//www.laurielblack.smugmug.com/gallery/805051 (not complete but there are a few there so far)

Most of all, have fun. She knows that you are doing this on short notice and to help her out. Don't stress too much!! :)
09/20/2005 10:51:49 AM · #4
Laurie very nice work! Looks like Danny has been keeping you busy :)

Message edited by author 2005-09-20 10:52:45.
09/20/2005 11:01:25 AM · #5
Laurie - those pics are great, I love the B+W stuff. What method do you use for converting to B+W? the channel mixer?

Nick
09/20/2005 11:04:25 AM · #6
Thanks y'all...I use a little filter package I won on another photo site for most of my black and white conversions...it's the Power Retouche program, and has some wonderful things available. Several different kinds of toning, many different b/w film stock looks, lots of neat things. I also used Virtual Photographer for a few of the pictures as well. :)

I'm sure you pros out there have lots of advice you can give this guy so he doesn't have a coronary before the weekend...help a fellow out! :)
09/20/2005 11:14:24 AM · #7
If it's possible for you to attend the rehersal, I think it would be very helpful. You would have the chance to see what the lighting will be like and also where you want to be during the ceremony.

Pros maybe don't need to invest the extra time in doing this, but it was a comfort for me to be as prepared as I felt I could be.

Message edited by author 2005-09-20 11:15:09.
09/20/2005 11:26:02 AM · #8
Laurie is right...

Find out about the venue. Go early to scout out locations and to do pre-service formals of the groom and his parents and groomsmen, bride and her parents and bridesmaids. I shoot the formals and the service in RAW mode, but the reception and everything else in JPEG mode. Shoot EVERYTHING, and for the formals and important parts of the service (ring exchange, kiss, dad giving bride away) shoot duplicates. Get a flash and learn how to use it. Don't be afraid to bump up your iso to get more ambient light from the room. iso400 - 640 with manual setting of 1/50 with largest aperture you have and the sb800 in TTL mode and you should get decent enough shots throughout the evening.

It's not easy and you'll feel the pressure as the day unfolds, but just try and relax and have fun.

Links to some of the weddings I've done:

Terry Wedding
Brent Wedding
Price Wedding
Riley Wedding
Assisted Utro with a wedding
Sommers Wedding
DPCs Clint Walker's Wedding
Taylor Wedding (just started post processing this one)

I'd like to again thank Laurie for assisting me this year!

-danny
09/20/2005 01:17:59 PM · #9
Wow thank you for the response!

I only have the kit lens and no flash. My mom will probably be helping me, we are also bringing the 35mm minolta with the telephoto lens (can't remember the numbers)

I know the wedding is outside in a park, I will e-mail my cousin with those questions!
09/20/2005 01:25:20 PM · #10
Outside should help. flash would help, but should not be necessary. Shooting RAW allows to you fix mistakes later (like exposure or WB) - great for indoors or outdoors (you can process the same RAW shot twice - once for lows and once for highs and combine them in PS).

If you are doing it right, you'll shoot 300-500 shots. You'll need LOTS of memory cards and proabbly a spare camera battery.

take 2 or 3 of each shot, different zooms, check the BG in EVERY shot for ugliness or poles/trees sticking out of heads. try and stay in diffused shade NOT in full sun. for formals take extra shots - people look away, blink, cough, and with kids, well everything happens.
09/20/2005 01:30:23 PM · #11
Originally posted by emifinan:

Wow thank you for the response!

I only have the kit lens and no flash. My mom will probably be helping me, we are also bringing the 35mm minolta with the telephoto lens (can't remember the numbers)

I know the wedding is outside in a park, I will e-mail my cousin with those questions!

I would definitely suggest that you get a flash for it. You may be able to get by using a high ISO, but the clarity is not going to be the best. Also like others said, extra memory and definitely spare batteries.
09/20/2005 02:38:50 PM · #12
My advice is to do the best you can and not worry about it much. If you aren't getting paid and the couple doesn't want to have a professional on hand, they aren't particularly concerned with the results :)
09/20/2005 03:17:52 PM · #13
my advice to you, is to ask your family and friends to pitch in and hire a professional photographer.
09/20/2005 03:20:15 PM · #14
1.Make sure you made a phot of all the attended separatly.. even if its a lousy one of them... at list there is a memory they are there.

2. take more photoes of the closest frinds of the wedding couple.

3. make sure the bride look good at any picture!!!
09/20/2005 03:22:46 PM · #15
..... umm did I mention a flash? Especially if you are going to be outside. The sun will most likely be overhead creating some strong shadows on the face. This give the appearance of black eyes and is not flattering at all. Have a nice fill flash will eliminate all of this and make all of the guests look much better. Something I'm sure the bride will be happy about.
09/20/2005 03:33:50 PM · #16
Hi Emily - take as much memory as you can/have, as Lauri and others have stated - shoot as much as your memory will allow. If you can, shoot in RAW, extra batteries, borrow a flash if you cant afford one.

This is going to be a great experience for you! I know its difficult but try and enjoy it! It would help if you had someone to give you a hand to organise the group shots and get people in line etc.

Oh and yeh, be firm but polite! Make certain you get your shots first before the guests get in the way!

Mike

Message edited by author 2005-09-20 15:44:08.
09/20/2005 03:38:05 PM · #17
Originally posted by ericlimon:

my advice to you, is to ask your family and friends to pitch in and hire a professional photographer.


A little harsh, don't you think? I'm sure she'll do just fine, especially considering the expectations.

Not everyone is all that concerned about having super high quality shots of their wedding, and that's most likely the case when people ask a close friend or relative to give it a shot.

For my own wedding in '91, we asked my uncle to shoot the wedding. He had done many weddings in his time, and was a very pragmatic choice for us. But a week before the wedding, he fell ill and had to have his gall bladder removed. So we went with Plan B and just had several friends pitch in and shoot what they could.

Know what? Almost all of our shots were pretty crappy, and it has never bothered me or my wife. We have several that were good enough to blow up, and several that we put into an album. But photos simply weren't a huge priority for us, which is ironic I guess, considering my love of photography.

If this couple was hell bent on having really, really good shots, they would have found the budget to hire someone to do so.

Emily -- have fun, do your best, and don't drink *too* much at the reception :)
09/20/2005 03:39:19 PM · #18
I don't know about anyone else but I find this Helpfull
09/21/2005 06:39:06 PM · #19
Thank you everyone! I went out and got a flash at everyones suggestion because I could not find one to borrow.

Sounds like it will be a worthwhile investment though.

My mom is good at setting up formal photos, I am mostly in charge of the "artistic" looking ones.

09/21/2005 06:56:37 PM · #20
This is an excellent opportunity for both you and the couple. They get photos shot for free/cheap and you get a great experience without much pressure on you. I'd love to have an opportunity like this. Just have fun with it and take tons of pics. Hopefully this will open doors for you! Good luck!
09/25/2005 02:39:09 PM · #21
Hi Emily - how did the big day go?


09/30/2005 01:19:26 PM · #22
Hi!
What is the best lenses for D70 for low light indoor conditions?
I have got advice in regards to Nikon 85 1.8D and Nikon 70-200 VR.
Any other suggestions?
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